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This week, the United States Senate took a major step forward in expanding trade and investment relations between the United States and Rwanda by unanimously approving the United States-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).
The treaty will provide investors with legal protections that underscore the shared commitment of the United States and Rwanda to open investment and trade policies. It will also help further economic growth in Rwanda by reinforcing that government's economic reform program, which has rebuilt the Rwandan economy since the 1994 genocide. U.S.-led investment in Rwanda is poised to increase in the coming year, helping to grow both the American and Rwandan economies.
“This treaty will protect the rights of U.S. investors in Rwanda. The treaty will strengthen our two countries’ economic ties and enhance the confidence of U.S. investors in Rwanda, helping to promote the new investment that is critical to Rwanda’s economic development,” said Ambassador Ron Kirk. “Rwanda is recognized for its strong record of business climate reform and is capturing the attention of a growing number of U.S. companies. The Rwanda BIT will reinforce the Rwandan government’s efforts to further reform its economy and promote a strong, transparent business climate.”
This is the first BIT that the United States has concluded with an African country in nearly a decade. It can serve as a model for future agreements with other African countries, including Mauritius, where a BIT is under negotiation; Ghana, where a BIT has been proposed; and with the East African Community, where a regional investment agreement has been proposed. The United States currently has five BITs in force in sub-Saharan Africa, with Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, and Senegal.
USTR and the Department of State co-led the negotiation of this treaty.